Best partially paved trails in California

148,316 Reviews
Explore the most popular partially paved trails in California with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
Map of partially paved trails in California
Top trails (589)
#1 - Potato Chip Rock via Mt. Woodson Trail
Lake Poway Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(5948)
Length: 7.6 mi • Est. 4 h 2 m
One of the most popular trails for photo ops and scenic views of the Pacific Ocean, this steep and narrow hike up to Potato Chip Rock and Mount Woodson summit is a must-do for locals and visitors alike. Located in northern San Diego county, the Mount Woodson trailhead starts at the end of Lake Poway Road at Lake Poway and offers hikers, climbers and trail runners a challenging trail up to the famous potato chip boulder and Mount Woodson Summit. This is a great place for a good workout and training for long hikes and runs. This is a very exposed trail so please bring plenty of water and sunscreen. Lake Poway PARKING IS FREE during the week- (weekends and holidays it's $10.00 for non- Poway residents)Show more
#2 - Vernal and Nevada Falls via the Mist Trail
Yosemite National Park
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(2962)
Length: 8.8 mi • Est. 5 h 1 m
Note: As of September 2020, The park has decided to reroute this trail and make a one way loop which starts shortly after the bridge below Vernal Falls and continues on the John Muir Trail after the top of Nevada Falls and back down to the bridge. Additionally, the trail has been reported closed between 7am-4pm during the week. During the winter months, portions of the John Muir Trail in Yosemite are closed. Visitors can still visit the falls, but you must return on the stairs, instead of returning on the John Muir Trail. Hike to two breath-taking waterfalls along Yosemite Valley's most popular hiking trails. If you only have time for one hike while in Yosemite look no further: the Mist Trail is the hike for you. It is no wonder why this trail is one of the most popular trails in Yosemite Valley. You will hike so close to 2 massive waterfalls that it will be very difficult to avoid the mist from the falls. The best time to hike this trail is in Spring or early Summer, while the snow runoff is high and the falls are full of water. The Mist Trail starts at Happy Isles trailhead (YARTS shuttle stop #16, and within walking distance of Curry Village and parking lot). After a brief stroll along the river, you climb a pretty steep initial accent until you reach the footbridge, which offers the first glimpse of Vernal Fall in the distance (and a water-fountain and restrooms). You will then continue up to Vernal Fall, past Emerald Pool, and alongside Nevada Fall until you reach the high-point for this hike. Then take the alternate route down along the John Muir Trail to see views of Nevada Fall and Liberty Cap in the distance before meeting back up with the Mist Trail near the footbridge. The route back is slightly longer, but offers a change of scenery and is easier on the knees. Before hopping back on the YARTS shuttle, treat yourself to some ice cream or a refreshing drink at the small stand, or head over to Curry Village for a larger variety of choices. Show more
#3 - Vernal Falls
Yosemite National Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(2502)
Length: 4.0 mi • Est. 2 h 16 m
The Mist Trail from its junction with the John Muir Trail (just above Vernal Fall footbridge) to the top of Vernal Fall is closed Monday–Friday, 7 am to 4 pm, for trail work (the trail may occasionally be closed overnight). Use the John Muir Trail for access to Vernal and Nevada Falls (and beyond). For more information, please see https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/conditions.htm Note: Due to public health and safety concerns, descending the Mist Trail steps from the top of Vernal Fall is prohibited from 9 am to 4 pm. To return to the trailhead, continue hiking uphill to Clark Point (500 feet additional elevation gain), then down the John Muir Trail. The trail from the top of Vernal Fall to Clark Point is a steep uphill climb and has no shade. For more information, please check here: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/vernalnevadatrail.htm. Yosemite National Park is open to those with reservations beginning on Thursday, June 11. See the park website for more info: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/covid19.htm Show more
#4 - Half Dome Trail
Yosemite National Park
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(1955)
Length: 15.0 mi • Est. 9 h 1 m
Half Dome is a serious endurance hike taking visitors 4800 feet above the Yosemite Valley to spectacular views of Vernal and Nevada Falls, Liberty Cap, Half Dome, and panoramic views of Yosemite Valley and the High Sierra. A permit is required for this hike, see below. Preparation and safety are key to having a fantastic experience. This is a hike that requires you to be in shape. Most take 10 to 12 hours to hike to Half Dome and back depending on the routes up and down. Plan to leave around sunrise (or earlier) and then have a non-negotiable turn-around time. The trail is fairly well marked but make sure you watch for all trail signs as you can miss them. The elevation gain is very strenuous, starting with steep climb in the beginning to Vernal Falls, followed by another steep climb to the top of Nevada Falls. After the second waterfall, there is about 1 mile of fairly level hiking until you reach Little Yosemite Campground, followed by steep switchbacks through the forest. At about 7 miles you will reach a break in the trees, with a beautiful view of the side of Half dome with the valley below. After some steep switchbacks carved like stairs into the rock, you will reach Half Dome with only 400 feet to go. These last 400 feet are the most challenging, but also the most rewarding (although you may not realize it until you are comfortably back on the valley floor). The famous part of the Half Dome hike is the ascent up the cable route. The two steel cables allow hikers to climb the last 400 feet to the summit without rock climbing equipment. The cables are around a 45-55 degree grade, with wooden supports every 10 to 20 feet to rest and maintain your balance. Using gloves is highly recommended to get a better grip and avoid painful blisters. Be sure to tightly secure your water bottles and cameras for the climb up, because you will want them once at the top. The Half Dome cables usually go up the Friday before Memorial Day (conditions permitting) and come down the day after Columbus Day. Compared to the hike up, the return journey flies by and before you know it you will be back at the top of Nevada falls. You have 2 options here: the Mist Trail, which is how you came up is about 3.4 miles (5.5km), or the John Muir Trail for a slight change of scenery (about 0.5 miles further). The waterfalls suddenly seem much more pleasant as you hike down compared to earlier uphill climb, and it's hard to hold back a smile as you reach the Vernal Falls bridge where you can refill your water (there are also facilities here). About 30 minutes later you are back at the trail head where you can catch a free shuttle to your car or anywhere else in the valley (there is a concession stand near the bus stop where you can buy cold drinks and ice cream). For Half Dome Permits visit the National Park Service website, recreation.gov or call the Yosemite Park Ranger Station.Show more
#5 - Black Star Canyon Falls Trail
Cleveland National Forest
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(3122)
Length: 6.8 mi • Est. 3 h 22 m
Black Star Canyon Trail, a lesser known hiking trail in Orange County of Southern California, is a fun hike to Black Star Canyon Falls. The trail can be accessed off of Highway 241 at Santiago Canyon and after a few miles you will turn left onto Silvarado Canyon and then left onto Black Star Canyon Road. You can park along the road. Black Star Canyon is an important archaeological site and holds a great deal of history. The canyon was home to the Black Star Coal Mining Company in the 1800s, from which its name is derived. There was also an armed conflict in 1831 between American fur trappers, led by William Woldskill, and a group of native Americans called the Tongva. This was the bloodiest battle in history of the Santa Ana Mountains The trail starts off on a dirt road and then follows Black Star Creek toward the falls. The last portion of the hike requires boulder hopping up the stream bed to reach Black Star Canyon Falls. This hike is best experienced after heavy rain, as high flow is usually in the rainy season and can be only a trickle during summer and fall. There is heavy poison oak in the area so proceed with caution. Black Star Canyon Road Restricted Parking Zones The County Board of Supervisors recently approved the following recommendations: - West side of Black Star Canyon Road: (1) “No Parking” zone between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. from Baker Canyon Road to 400 feet south of the access gate, and (2) a “Tow‐Away No Parking” zone from access gate to 400 feet south of the access gate.” - East side of Black Star Canyon Road: (1) “No Parking” zone between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. from Baker Canyon Road to 50 feet south of the access gate, and (2) a “Tow‐Away No Parking” zone from access gate to 50 feet south of the access gate.” Show more
#6 - Mount San Antonio and Mount Baldy Notch Trail
Angeles National Forest
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(1643)
Length: 11.5 mi • Est. 5 h 42 m
A strenuous loop to the 10,068' summit of Baldy. Any Southern Californian can point out the white topped Mt. Baldy - actually it's real name is Mt. San Antonio. Baldy is a SoCal icon that stands out boldly as a snow-covered backdrop for much of the year. At 10,068 feet above sea level, the snow often sticks around well into June. This loop begins at the Manker Flats trailhead (National Parks Adventure Pass required), taking the winding fire road up Baldy Notch, then hiking the Devil's Backbone to the summit. The return route takes you down via the steep Baldy Bowl trail, passing the Sierra Club Ski Hut and San Antonio Falls on the way back to Manker Flats. This is the third of six southern California summits in the 6-Pack of Peaks bundle. Done in sequence, they provide great training anyone preparing for bigger hikes such as Mt. Whitney or Half Dome. Each hike in the 6-Pack is progressively higher in altitude, and all have respectable distance and vertical elevation gain. When you're at Baldy Notch, there are several paths that head towards Mt. Baldy (none of the marked). DO NOT take the far left path. That will take you to the foot of the Turkeyshoot ski run. It may be the most direct, but your legs will never forgive you for going up that run. No matter how you get there, though, all of the trails take you to Devil's Backbone, which leads you to Baldy. It's not so bad before the final ascent, but there are places where both sides of the trail drop away, and you could get some vertigo, if you're prone to it. But the ascent is the real butt-kicker. When you round Mt. Harwood and head for Baldy, the rest of your path is brutal and relentless. The views at the top are incredible, and there's wind-breaks other folks have constructed out of stones, so you can take a breather behind one of those if it's too gusty. From there, you have your pick of ways down, either back the way you came, down the Baldy Bowl/Ski Hut trail, or the Bear Canyon trail. Good luck. Make sure to check when the ski lift closes, if you plan to take it back. NOTE: Be sure to park outside of the white line along the road. It can be difficult to see in the snow but the police will have you towed if parked incorrectly.Show more
#7 - Etiwanda Falls Trail
North Etiwanda Preserve
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(2616)
Length: 3.4 mi • Est. 1 h 55 m
Nestled in the Etiwanda foothills is the Etiwanda Falls Trail. It is a nice out and back hike suitable for the whole family with lots of great scenery and photo opportunities. There are also many informational markers along the way to explain the significance of conserving this area and its role in protecting valuable ecosystem function and sensitive species found there. The falls are found on National Forest property north of the current boundaries of the North Etiwanda Preserve. By going to the falls, you will cross over privately owned property, which is not a designated part of the Preserve. The private property crossed is still a habitat preservation site for which the same conservation practices apply. Dogs are not allowed on this trail. NOTE: There is a designated parking area by the trailhead. DO NOT park on the road and walk to the trailhead if the lot is full. Users have reported that the police tow hikers' cars here daily. Hours: Winter (November- February) 6:30 AM - 5:00 PM Summer (March-October) 6:30 AM - 8:00 PM PARKING GATES LOCKED PROMPTLY AT CLOSING TIME NO DOGS ALLOWEDShow more
#8 - Lands End Trail
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(1814)
Length: 3.4 mi • Est. 1 h 22 m
Lands End Trail explores the historic Sutro Baths and offers brilliant view of the Pacific. A must see for any visitor to San Francisco. This is the wildest, rockiest corner of San Francisco. A corner strewn with shipwrecks and a history of landslides. At the tip of Lands End is Point Lobos, named by the Spanish for its many lobos marinos (sea wolves), as the barks of those sea lions, as they are called today, drifted up from the rocks below. The sea lions have since relocated to the calmer waters of San Francisco Bay. Trails at Lands End offer a cliff-top walk through dark cypress and open grass and 30-mile views up and down the California coast. The craggy headlands that border the Golden Gate have always challenged developers. The rocky exposed bluffs, often windswept and cloaked in fog, have hampered attempts to tame this corner of San Francisco. Despite the terrain, this section of the Coastal Trail was once a railroad bed, and the adjacent street, El Camino del Mark, once extended through Lands End. The two roads led to the Cliff House, Sutro Baths, and Ocean Beach. Landslides eventually closed both routes.Show more
#9 - Switzer Falls via Gabrielino Trail
Angeles National Forest
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(1744)
Length: 3.6 mi • Est. 1 h 28 m
Users have reported that when the trailhead parking is closed, there is an additional 1 mile and 300 feet in elevation added to the hike. This is a relatively easy hike into one of the loveliest sections of the San Gabriel mountains. The hike meanders back and across the stream running down the spectacular Arroyo Seco Canyon. The stream is lined with oaks and alder, with the water cascading over granite into mirror-like pools. The hike travels high above the 50 foot high Switzer falls, then drops back to the stream, where hikers can double back to stand at the base of the falls. After seeing the falls, travel downstream to the intersection with Bear Canyon, and travel up this spectacularly wild, steep-walled canyon for another half mile or so to enjoy its wonders. More adventuresome hikers can continue up Bear Canyon for 2 miles to Bear Camp.Show more
#10 - Runyon Canyon Trail
Runyon Canyon Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(2359)
Length: 2.7 mi • Est. 1 h 4 m
Note: As of June 2020, Runyon Canyon trails are open however they are subject to capacity limitations and parking restrictions. During this time, the trail is running one-way (clockwise). IMPORTANT NOTE: this is a DIFFICULT hike due to loose ground and potential to slip on the descent. For an easier route in Runyon Canyon, take the paved road down or see this out and back route: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/runyon-park-to-indian-rock Runyon Canyon is an extremely popular hiking trail with great views of the Hollywood Hills. It is a great place to go for a quick hike to see the Hollywood sign or the views from Inspiration Point and Clouds Rest. This is also a great area for dog owners as there are plenty of off leash areas. Don't expect to have the trail to yourself and plan time for finding street parking. The southern entrance to the park is located at the north end of Fuller Avenue. Tennis shoes or running shoes recommended. There are a few water fountains but due to the sunny nature of the hike, you should bring a water bottle as well.Show more
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